England seal T20 World Cup semi-final spot as Jordan and Buttler punish USA

<span>Chris Jordan celebrates his hat-trick at Kensington Oval, where he played cricket as a schoolboy.</span><span>Photograph: Philip Brown/Getty Images</span>
Chris Jordan celebrates his hat-trick at Kensington Oval, where he played cricket as a schoolboy.Photograph: Philip Brown/Getty Images

It may have been a mismatch on the day – a battering to use Harry Brook’s recent phrase of choice – and one that booked England’s place in the semi-finals of the men’s T20 World Cup. But when Chris Jordan sealed a hat-trick to send the final dregs of the USA’s innings down the plughole, the feels out in the middle were real.

Kensington Oval is where Jordan caught the bug as a kid, be it the inter-school finals he played in for Combermere or the international cricket watched; the ground where, aged five, he came to watch his first Test match between West Indies and England in 1994 and was transfixed by the buzz in the stands, the sound of conch shells being blown.

Related: England thrash USA by 10 wickets to reach T20 World Cup semis – live reaction

As such, even factoring in ­limited opposition and the greater ­prevalence of hat-tricks in Twenty20 cricket – just ask Pat Cummins, owner of two already in this tournament – Jordan’s delight upon detonating Saurabh Netravalkar’s middle stump was unbridled. The No 11 was also his fourth wicket in five balls, the USA crumbling to 115 all out after being stuck in and England then vaporising the target for a 10-wicket scoreline.

They need not have hurried. With West Indies and South Africa ­meeting on Sunday in Antigua for what had already become a winner-takes-all shootout, England needed to knock off the runs inside 18.4 overs to guarantee a top-two finish in the group. Instead it took them only 58 balls, Jos Buttler launching seven sixes en route to an unbeaten 83 from 38 with Phil Salt, 25 from 21, happily operating in his captain’s slipstream.

As England look ahead to the semi-finals – location unknown until Monday due to India’s guarantee of playing in Guyana – it may be that Buttler ­finding the middle of the bat so sweetly and consistently was the ­biggest plus from this match. It has been a low-key campaign from the captain, much like his 50-over World Cup last year, but propelling the spinner Harmeet Singh over the rope five times in an over could be just the tonic.

Although for all the focus on ­Jordan and Buttler, this victory over the USA was set up by the latest ­exhibition of middle-overs ­asphyxiation from Adil Rashid. In tandem with Liam Livingstone, who claimed one for 24, Rashid’s four overs leaked only 13 runs, no boundaries, and his sleight-of-hand googly picked up two wickets clean bowled.

They were the strikes that ­ultimately defined the innings. Reece Topley had removed Andries Gous in the first over, USA’s top-scorer in the tournament attempting a second six, and a smart slower ball from Sam Curran accounted for Steven Taylor. But it was not until Rashid outfoxed the Barbados-raised Aaron Jones, their best player of spin, and Nitish Kumar, seemingly set on 30 from 24 balls, that the result felt a formality.

There was a smidgen of resistance as Corey Anderson scrapped his way to 29 from 28 balls and cleared the rope with one audacious reverse-swept six. But the former New ­Zealand international is no longer the player who once held the record for the fastest one-day international century in history (36 balls) and after he sent a full toss from Jordan down the throat of long-on to make it 115 for seven at the start of the 19th over, the innings unspooled.

Whether what followed keeps ­Jordan in the XI remains to be seen. He came in for Mark Wood, while Tom Hartley could be a shout to make his T20i debut this week with both semi-finals at grounds where left-arm ­spinners prosper. But with friends and family in the stands it ­mattered little, Jordan wiping out three ­tailenders in successive ­deliveries by going full, straight and fast, before Jofra Archer lifted him off his feet.

And so the fairytale comes to a close for the USA but the fuzzy ­feelings will live on. There was a sense that things were happening for the co-hosts before the ­tournament after that historic 2-1 series win against Bangladesh, something only furthered when Jones took Canada’s bowlers to downtown Dallas on the opening night to the tune of 10 sixes.

But few could have predicted the day they met Pakistan on the same ground and Texas rolled ’em. That Super Over triumph was an upset for the ages, earning the USA the right to progress when the weather in Florida then went their way. Even coming up short in the end – they signed off with a third straight defeat – their presence in the Super Eights has guaranteed a spot in the next men’s T20 World Cup in 2026.

England, meanwhile, became the first team to reach the semi-finals despite a campaign in which they were one further rain shower in ­Antigua away from a first-round exit. They may even have a poorer record overall than some of those to miss out but win their next two games and they will be T20 world ­champions once more.